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Graham Perry
Graham Perry
Experienced Arbitration Lawyer | China & Chinese Business Affairs | Public Speaker/Lecturer.


The Domino Theory was a US Cold War policy of the 1950’s/1960’s that argued that a communist government in one nation would quickly lead to communist takeovers in neighbouring states, each falling like a perfectly aligned row of dominos.

The words – The Domino Theory – were used by the US to justify its decision to wage war in Vietnam against President Ho Chi Minh in the North + against the National Liberation Front in the South. In order to whip up support for its ultimately failed initiative, it promoted the idea that a line in the sand had to be drawn + Ho Chi Minh confronted + defeated in order to ensure that Communist guerrillas would not take over in Vietnam, S Korea, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore Laos, Cambodia and Indonesia

As is well known, the US lost in Vietnam. 59,000 US servicemen died + US helicopters scrambled to lift desperate Embassy staff from the roof of the US Embassy in Saigon. Ho Chi Minh stayed as President of the North and the National Liberation Front took power in the South and North + South Vietnam were united into one country.

The Domino Theory never happened. The Governments of S-E Asia remained in power. There were no Communist takeovers.

There is a parallel today. The US has developed another theory of conflict to pursue a mistaken policy – in an effort to contain the rise of China, it follows a new version of the Domino Theory. It asserts that China is expansionist; that it wants to take over the neighbouring governments in S-E Asia; that China is a threat to peace + stability in the region; that, but for the military presence of the US, China would overrun and take control of its neighbouring countries.

The US was wrong re Vietnam in the 1960s + the US is wrong today. The dominos never fell in the 1960s and China today, despite talk in US military + academic circles, is defensive and not offensive. But the lie will be perpetrated. It will be pushed by Washington today just as the Domino Theory was pushed by the US in the 1960s.

CHINA #373 – 11 MARCH


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